‘Fallen angel’ flies into Eurovision

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Music critics hadn’t favoured him, but hundreds of thousands of Norwegians certainly did. Andreas Haukeland, better known as TIX, rose above rivals with his performance of “Fallen angel” to win Norway’s prelude to this spring’s Eurovision Song Contest.

Andreas Haukeland, better known as TIX, won Norway’s Eurovision qualifier Saturday night. PHOTO: NRK screen grab

That means he’s now due to fly off to Rotterdam in May to represent Norway at the elaborate European song competition, if it’s not cancelled again by the Corona pandemic.

TIX openly cried with joy on national TV when he beat the top contender in the final run-off, the popular trio known as Keiino.

“I have felt for a very long time like the ugly duckling, but this proves that one day, the ugly duckling becomes a swan,” TIX told the hosts of Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK)’s annual Eurovision qualifier through his tears. “I haven’t exactly had the musical elite backing me up, at least not the critics, but I have tried as best I could for the people. It’s great that the people have been there for me.”

TIX is best known for wearing John Lennon-like sunglasses, a headband emblazoned with his artist’s name, and often outlandish costumes. He didn’t disappoint at Norway’s Eurovision prelude called Melodi Grand Prix that’s produced every year by state broadcaster NRK: TIX showed up as a giant white angel surrounded by black dancing demons and gripped by depression and suicidal thoughts.

Newspaper Aftenposten called his act “spectacular” but had rated it in advance as only “3” on a scale of one to six, with rival Keiino getting a “5.” “Unfortunately both the vocal presentation and melody are of the tame sort,” wrote commentator Robert Hoftun Gjestad. “It’s all just not gripping enough. The question is whether TIX has enough fans to win anyway.”

The answer was a definitive “yes,” with TIX fans especially in the southeastern portion of the country sending him over the top by tens of thousands of votes. He beat out 11 other performers in Saturday’s final that also included several professionals and others who’d competed in a series of semi-finals aired since January.

Keiino, meanwhile, had won Melodi Grand Prix in 2019 and did well at Eurovision in Tel Aviv, winning the public’s vote if not the jury’s. The trio making up Keiino put on another solid performance Saturday night, highlighted once again by Sami member Fred Buljo’s modern joik, but TIX won in the end.

There were some complaints over voting procedures in the wholly digital competition this year, with some NRK viewers claiming they weren’t able to vote. NRK officials noted they’d received a record number of votes amounting to more than 2 million during the course of the show, but the results were “clear and valid” in all three rounds. The numbers of people experiencing trouble would not have changed the result, said Inge Thorud of NRK.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund